The Yorkshire Marathon took place for the first time last year. I’d heard it was a great race and sold out within five hours, so booked the pre-sale website option when I got a link about it. Many people had told me how flat York was, so I was starting to think about a PB possibility as training was going quite well at the end of the third month. However I wanted to take part in the Spartan Sprint obstacle course which was three weeks before the marathon, it was much shorter than Tough Mudder and so I thought I’d risk it to break things up, certainly managed that with another broken/cracked rib at the same high wall obstacle. I tried an eight mile training run a few days later but only managed quarter of a mile, so planned to rest it. However there was a Munro trip which I had planned for some time so did that two weeks before the marathon as cross training. This was great but my rib was much worse after, so it was touch and go if I was going to manage the marathon.
It took about four hours to drive down to York the night before. Bib numbers, time chip etc all sent out by post previously, so no Expo needed. Jan dropped me off at the drop off point about an hour or so before the race, as it was going to be tricky parking in town. Everything was very well organized and I got to my zone in plenty time. I was regretting wearing shorts as the temperature was just three degrees and very misty. We all set off and I hoped the mist would lift a bit and it would warm up a little, but unfortunately it staid for the full race. The ibuprofen I’d taken for my rib was working, I could feel it but it wasn’t sore, so this was a great relief. Pleased with this I kept up a good pace for me well past half way, where I saw Jan and the kids wave me on at Stamford Bridge, where our caravan park was. The cold was making my hamstrings quite tight since mile eight though, and this started to be more of a worry as I saw quite a few people stopping with cramp. I was quite worried about this till the end but thankfully it didn’t happen. At mile eighteen or so I started to wonder where any downhill running may happen as the finish line was where we started and there was just light ascent and a little flat before going up hill again all the way so far. York may be flat but we ran right out of York and around the Yorkshire countryside which was quite undulating. There was very little in the way of downhill and the constant mild hills started to take their toll on my legs. The Yorkshire crowd were great and since everybody had their name printed on their bibs they would shout out your name as you passed which was great for motivation. With the fog not lifting we really only saw hedges and a misty tree or so all the way round. I was still hopeful of possibly getting a PB up until mile eighteen or so. There was lots of energy drink and water on route and gels at mile fifteen and twenty one, which I made use of at every occasion. A guy called out “Are you from Penicuik?” (because of my Harriers vest), turned out he stayed in West Linton for quite a few years. Another guy had a great Wallace and Gromit running top on with ‘Keep up lad!’ on it, looked great! It turned out he was from Aberdeen and lived in Edinburgh. I ran with him for a couple of miles. After mile twenty three (The amount I’d trained up to) I really started to slow down and any thoughts of a PB were long gone and I now just wanted to finish with four hours. I managed to run all the way till the last hill at mile twenty five and a half, where my legs would not do up hill any longer (first time I’ve walked in any race), but I carried on with a slow jog after I got to the top where it was quite flat for the last half mile or so. I was really knackered at this point and was quite uplifted by the crowd who were spurring everybody on. I hobbled along expecting a muscle to twang at any point but just managed to make it and put a small run in at the end to try and get myself in within three hours and fifty eight minutes, which I was quite amused to have succeeded with by one second! 3:57:59.
I had a quick stretch and then picked up some clothes I dropped in at baggage very quickly with no waiting. The event was very well organized and I made my way up to the pick up point where Jan had just arrived in the car from Stamford Bridge. Pleased in the end to do it within four hours considering missing three weeks training. Marathon number ten done! 🙂
It was great the marathon was on the first day of the holiday, so I didn’t need to train during it. Had a great steak at a local bar at night. Quite funny watching two woman that had done the marathon trying to get down the steps outside the bar as their legs had stiffened up. I could hardly walk up the steps into the caravan earlier!
York is quite a place to spend a week or so for a holiday. Lots to see there and the surrounding area!